Winners of these awards are selected by the award’s Judging Panel following an evaluation process based on the criteria of each category. The categories comprise of the following:
Category 1 -Best Practices in Government Communication, Sharjah
Nominated entities must represent the government sector in Sharjah. This award is presented to honor important contributions in the government communications field. Entities are required to demonstrate a clear vision and a comprehensive strategy for their future communications roles. The nominated entity should have achieved concrete results in both internal and external communication and in addition, must demonstrate proven growth in its government communication performance. The entity should have played a leading role in boosting government communication practices, enhancing its internal and external image, as well as in fostering relationships.
All eligible candidates should possess:
- Creative and inspirational vision for the entity's communications practice
- Strategy that is in line with the overall vision of the
- Strategy for the development and training of employees within the government communications department of the organization
- Realistic and measurable vision
All eligible candidates should possess:
- A long-term government communication strategy that is aligned to the general strategic plan of the entity
- A plan that sets clear, implementable and measurable objectives
- A sound organizational structure in place for the government communication department
- A right fit for the government communication department within the organisational structure
- A manual or set of guidelines for the government communication department that includes all its services / responsibilities
Entries should reflect:
- Tangible results in internal and external government communication
- Positive results of internal communication and showcase collaboration between government communication departments and other departments in the entity
- An official and authorized spokesperson
- Proven government communication practices that can serve as a replicable role model
- The government communication department’s role in the entity’s overall decision-making process
- Communications and awareness programs that influence opinions and change behaviours of the public with regard to specific issues, and share the positive impact of these programs
- Solutions or actions that are well received by internal or external audiences
- An improved communication performance in the last two years prior to nomination
Category 2 -Best Government Website, UAE
The nominated website must be part of a government entity, establishment or department in UAE. The portal must facilitate interactive communication and not restrict itself to being informative. Nominations must be substantiated with the number of hits and stats that the portal has achieved as well as relevant facts and figures to demonstrate its popularity and ability to serve as an effective tool to communicate with the public.
The nominated website should have contributed to facilitating communication in a positive manner with the target audience and served as an effective electronic platform that reflects the services provided by the entity.
Nominated website must:
- Integrate suitable and relevant information for target audiences
- Offer details of corporate identity, such as vision, mission and objectives
- Provide clear and up-to-date information
- Provide updated hyperlinks relevant to the entity and its services
- Use simple language to communicate accurate and transparent information
- Reflect the entity’s broad media messages
Design of the nominated website has to:
- Remain compatible to the entity’s corporate identity
- Demonstrate user-friendly interface, featuring site map and ease of navigation to return to the main page
- Offer ease and speed in uploading pages
- Remain aesthetically appealing with regard to colours, images and overall design elements
Nominated website should:
- Provide quick response to customers’ inquiries and complaints
- Offer instant messaging service to connect the entity with customers looking for specific answers
- Include links to the entity’s social media channels
- Furnish details on the following:
- Number of monthly visitors (a visitor with the same IP address returning on a daily basis is counted only once)
- Number of pages opened by visitors
- Number of times a visitor visits the site per day
- Duration for which visitors stay on the website (in minutes)
- Ensure accessibility of website via smart phones
- Demonstrate ability to communicate electronically and factor in feedback
- Host Search Engine Optimization – SEO capability
Category 3 -Best Practices in Social Responsibility - UAE
Awarded to the best practice or initiative of social responsibility lunched by government entities across the UAE, and which highlights the importance of working towards the greater good of the society. These initiatives should have a clear vision, are based on realistic statistics, benefit a large segment of society, and contribute to the promotion of social responsibility concepts and practices
Nominated initiatives should:
- Be clear and based on specific messages, facts and objectives.
- Have positive impact towards social issues or contribute to finding solutions to those issues.
- Serve society professionally, ethically, and humanly
- Include a clearly developed programme ready for implementation
- Introducing the initiative in a non-traditional framework
- Success in reaching a large number of its target audience.
- Adopting an innovative approach that reflects the importance of positive meaningful social involvement.
- Ability to measure direct engagement with the target audience.
- The extent to which the target audience is aware of the initiative and how to engage with.
- Provide reports and statistics that show the overall positive outcomes.
- Transparency in the implementation phase
- Commitment to the initiative timeline
Category 4 – Best Support System for Official Spokesperson - UAE
All government entities within the UAE can participate in this category and portray their efforts in empowering, qualifying, training and supporting their spokespersons, and in providing them with the right tools to communicate positively and effectively to both the general public and the media. Efforts must also reflect the provision of information that help the designated spokespersons better represent their entities in the media during both normal events and crisis situations.
To qualify for this category, participants’ submissions should include the steps that have been taken to prepare and train their official spokespersons and to empower them so that they are able to effectively handle the media. They must also include samples of media interviews, press events and the various speaking opportunities in which spokespersons have participated throughout the year. Also, the mechanism by which an official spokesperson has been selected will be evaluated in terms of their qualifications, personality, credibility, transparency and confidence in dealing with the media.
All participating entities must present:
Media Support: 40
- A mechanism that allows spokesperson to remain up to date with the latest international practices when dealing with the media - especially international ones.
- A programme that offers ongoing media training for spokespersons on how to deal with difficult media questions and the pressures resulting from interviews and press conferences.
- An annual training programme for spokespersons on how to communicate during crises
- Evidence of the ongoing participation of their official spokesperson in international conferences that specialise in the field of government communications and media.
- A membership in specialised publications in the field of government communication and media handling for official spokespersons.
- A process that grants spokespersons powers to manage media relations and to conduct public speaking and media related events.
- A system that allows spokespersons to become thought leaders in their area of expertise (writing articles – blogging…etc.)
- Present an annual schedule for speaking events (national, international, and organised by topic).
- Show the mechanism by which key media messages are formulated and approved, supported by facts and figures that spokespersons can use on their numerous speaking occasions.
- Provide the spokespersons with proper research on local and international media and their editorial policies, target audiences, and the nature of media coverage in traditional outlets and on social media.
- Show they have a competent communications support team who prepares talking points, Q&As sheets, media kits, digital content, and manages the relationship with the media.
- Provide an effective and impactful visual production for the spokespersons during different speaking occasions.
Participants should show the following spokesperson’s capabilities:
- Their ability to draw public and media attention and highlight the vital role of their entity.
- Their statements to be considered an official reference in the name of the entity.
- Their successful usage of key messages, and their ability to turn the media into an ally.
- Their ability to deal with crisis both efficiently and professionally, while having a positive impact on public opinion.
- Ability to provide accurate information on topics of interest to both the media and the general public, and to support their statements with evidence and data for credibility purposes.
- Their ability to choose the right time to communicate with both the general public and the media.
- Their ability to communicate in a calm and positive manner while portraying sufficient knowledge of press conferences’ protocols.
- The degree to which the spokesperson possesses social intelligence and an ability to understand the needs of a society, while taking in account the constant demands of media outlets.
Category 5 -Best Media Crisis Management, UAE
This category is open to government entities in the UAE that have dealt with a crisis - either internally or externally - through their government communication teams and have been able to efficiently communicate with their audience to clarify the details of the incident.
The submissions must include a case study of a particular crisis, wherein the government communication department played an active and decisive role in addressing the issue, while directly interacting with its target audience.
Planning and Strategy: 25
All eligible submissions must contain the following:
Engagement and Performance: 40
- A clear-cut strategy to deal with anticipated crises
- A list of potential risks that may turn into crises in the future
- A proactive plan with different elements/scenarios to deal with expected crises
- A revision of proactive plans with required amendments when necessary, as the crisis unfolds
- Evidence of training sessions to official spokespersons with regard to managing potential crises
- A stringent and well-structured guideline for communication during crises
- Creativity in dealing with the crisis.
- Variety of communication platforms and channels chosen to present and deal with the crisis (i.e. roadshows, round table discussions, press conferences, among others).
- Rapid management and handling of the crisis and selection of appropriate time to communicate with the public.
- Efficient mechanism in handling the crisis.
- Effectiveness of media handling and strategic messages directed towards the public.
- Transparency in dealing with the crisis.
- Performance of the official spokesperson during and after the crisis.
- Documentation and analysis of media results to avoid any adverse response in the future.
- Extent of public engagement with the facts presented by the government entity
- Time spent in resolving the crisis - from the beginning till the end
- Media response and engagement with the government communication department during the crisis
- Response of public and media to the entity after the crisis
- Documentation of the crisis in a well-organized case study that other government entities can rely on and use as a reference for crisis management.
Category 6 -Best Government Communication Campaign outside UAE, UAE
This category targets government entities that have organized campaigns, programs or activities outside the UAE to communicate certain messages to a targeted audience or have introduced a new service or promoted a certain sector to formulate a neutral or positive public
opinion. More than one government entity can participate in this category with submissions backed by numbers, facts, real-time results and effective communication tools adopted by the government entity or entities.
The nominated campaign should offer evidence for:
- Researching and proactively identifying topic, programme or issue to be communicated
- Identifying the tangible objectives of the campaign
- Selecting the strategy implemented to address the challenge
- Identifying the communication tools used and success factors achieved
- Choosing specific timelines and campaign areas
- Identifying the risks and opportunities of the campaign
- Identifying the target audience
The nominated campaign should offer proof of:
- Identifying key steps and procedures in executing the campaign
- Establishing key messages and selecting communication tools and channels
- Highlighting the innovative factors in the tools and channels used
- Identifying the team responsible for the campaign
- Showcasing action plans and division of roles amongst all concerned departments
The nominated campaign should offer evidence of:
- Measuring results and evaluating communication tools used
- Sharing data, plans, statistics, KPIs, results and other relevant details
- Highlighting strengths, weaknesses and lessons learnt
- Outlining campaign recommendations
- Media material provided while it was underway
Category 7 -Best Behaviour Change Campaign or Initiative-UAE
This new category is open to all government and semi-government entities within the UAE that have launched and implemented a successful behavioural change campaign or initiative that had a positive impact in changing behaviours within its designated time frame.
Participants are required to prepare and submit a short video (no longer than five minutes), in which the entity director/chairperson or the campaign manager present their messages directly to their target audience/ members of the society to explain the idea behind their campaign, objectives, and the various ways to implement it. The short video should also include the campaign outputs in clear figures and stats, which will provide proof of its success in changing the targeted behaviour.
Upon submission, the videos will be shortlisted by the award’s judging panel whom will select three of those videos and upload them onto the award’s webpage. An open vote will then be launched for the public to nominate what they believe is the best video/campaign in terms of achieving the targeted behavioural change.
Moreover, participants are also required to submit a file that contains the campaign’s strategy/ plan. The plan should include the campaign’s rationale, objectives and goals, target audience, key messages and the implementation mechanism.
Campaign Goals: 20
- Establishing clear and specific campaign goals, based on the explicit behavioural challenges that have been identified through qualitative research.
- Having a clear call to action that encourages behavioural change.
- Setting precise, logical and achievable objectives.
- Providing an explanation on the rationale behind working towards this desired change and the benefits it is expected to have on the individual and on society.
- A clear-cut strategy that outlines challenges to be overcome as well as successes achieved
- A detailed action plan elaborating on varied activities employed
- Clear campaign goals and target audience.
- A well-developed mechanism to collect campaign information and data and a follow up plan on the overall strategy implementation.
- An alignment between the key messages and the behaviours that the entity is seeking to change.
- A detailed timeline for executing the campaign.
- A campaign that is attractive to the public and that attracts their attention. In other words, one which strikes a chord with the public.
- Catchy, inspirational and effective campaign slogans that encourage behavioural change.
- An attractive, easy to remember campaign logo.
- Effective visual elements that successfully attract public attention.
- Beautiful and attractive colours that have a positive impact on the general public.
- A campaign that can equally and simultaneously address the mind and the emotions.
- The usage of new tools, platforms and activities to reach target audiences.
- The availability of opinion polls and surveys that reflects the feedback of the target audience as well as the positive impact this campaign has on the behaviour it aims to change.
- Creating mechanisms to ensure ongoing engagement with target audiences on the issues/ behaviours identified
- The ability to achieve significant impact through extensive media coverage of the campaign and its overall outputs.
Category 8 -Best Government App - GCC
This category is open to all government entities across the GCC that have launched a smart application with the aim to support government communication function, to facilitate the positive engagement with their target audience, and to provide relevant information and services that concern the public. The smart application should enable the entity to monitor and follow up on the engagement process in an innovative and easy to use method.
- Providing sufficient information with constant updates
- Consistent with the entity’s government communication plan
- Clarity of vision and objectives
- Language used is sound, easy to read and free from errors
- Design is vibrant and attractive
- Information is easily presented
- A sitemap should be available
- The app should include examples to some of the challenges faced by the audience and offer solutions
- • The application should provide data and statistics that shows the extent of engagement between the entity and the audience
- • It should provide updated and relevant links
- • It should provide links to all social media platforms.
- • It should be able to measure the impact of positive engagement with the audience.
Category 9 - Best Youth Initiative in Government Communication –GCC
This category is open to youth who have launched an initiative, or a project related to government communication (includes: graduation projects, exhibitions, campaigns, other initiatives). Nominees should be undergraduate students who are pursuing a bachelor’s degree in media or communication across the GCC (either current students or those who graduated two years prior to their submission to the award). Submissions can either be in Arabic or English. Nominations can be submitted in person or through the faculty's administration. The initiative and/or the project should not have been nominated for final stages or won any other scientific or academic award in the GCC or abroad.
The initiative should:
Impact and Objectivity: 30
- Be aligned with government entities and government communication experts’ aspirations and is directly related to the nature of work carried out by this sector
- Reflect the spirit of the youth and their interests
- Engage the youth and help them interact with government entities
- Respect and honour the social customs and religious values
- Not be offensive to any individual or organization
- It should show objectivity in addressing the issue/topic
- It should demonstrate the value it adds to the government communication field
- It demonstrates novelty of the topic and addresses current development of social issues
- It offers solutions and practical recommendations
- It measures the impact of stakeholders’ engagement
- It provides statistics showing the results achieved
- It uses data and statistics to support the initiative
- Addresses out-of-the-box topic/ an issue
- Presents the initiative in an interesting, refreshing manner
- Offers implementable proposals in government communication
- Utilises creative methods in discussing the initiative
Category10-Best Media Initiative in Government Communication -GCC
This category targets media institutions (state-owned or private) which actively engage with government entities across the GCC. The nominated initiative has to be the result of a positive collaboration between the nominee and their source in a government communication department. The source should have provided the media institution with data that helped them prepare their material and present it during regular events or crises.
This award will be handed to a pioneering media institution that has contributed to the advancement of distinctive media achievements in the GCC region. The institution should also have enriched the media scene by contributing to building partnerships between governments and the public through leveraging media tools and supporting communication between both parties for the wider benefit of the public. In addition, the nominated media initiatives should have focused on highlighting specific government services, programmes or projects, or has objectively stated the facts and circumstances surrounding a media crisis or has contributed in raising awareness and changing behaviour towards a specific issue.
The nominated initiative can be in Arabic or English and should not have been nominated for final stages or won any other award in the GCC or abroad.
The nominated initiative should:
- Be exclusively owned by the nominated media entity
- Focus on a topic that has not been widely addressed by other media entities previously
- Highlight a recent issue or crisis, and should have been published or broadcast during 2018
- Be constructive, meaningful, and aim to raise public awareness
- Offer clarifications and solutions on social, cultural or scientific issues
- Use simple language that may be easily understood by various age groups and professional segments
- Provide completely accurate information
- Ensure rich content and serve as a background for more comprehensive information
- In case of published materials, should not be less than 500 words in total
The nominated initiative should have:
- Generated positive and not negative public opinion
- Served society through objective, professional and ethical media reporting
- Engaged the audience in constructive and multi-dimensional conversations
- Provided necessary data and statistics to measure the public’s positive engagement
Category 11 -Best Government Intercommunication Practice, GCC
Nominees for this category are government entities, establishments or departments in the GCC with an effective internal communication strategy that enhances communication amongst all employees within the entity. The case study presented by the government entity as part of the submission should include the results obtained through internal communication and its impact on the general performance of the organization.
The nomination should include an intercommunication plan that:
Communication and Innovation: 40
- Aligns with the entity’s values and principles
- Integrates and works with the entity’s overall strategic plan and government communication strategy
- Outlines clear objectives as well as implementable and measurable elements
- Defines the structure of the internal communication team
- Factors in overall work mechanism (For example: calendar of internal activities, strategic internal initiatives and an action plan)
- Incorporates government communication department's best practices in internal communication
The nominee should provide proof points for:
- Creative use of established internal communication tools to deliver desired messages
- Ensuring a mechanism to engage with employees and the leadership to achieve overall objectives of the communication strategy
- Offering training programmes for staff to facilitate better interaction with audience
- Defining internal communication practices that can serve as a benchmark in government communication and be widely implemented
- Adhering to creative internal and external communication initiatives
The nomination should demonstrate:
- Existence of an effective system to evaluate, revise and develop internal communication performance
- Impact of the internal communication plan on employee understanding of the entity’s key messages, plans and initiatives
- Measurable mechanism to assess the satisfaction of internal communication beneficiaries and their collaboration with the government communication department
- Review and revision of the internal communication plan on a regular basis
- Supportive communication plan that assists human resources in stimulating work spirit and raising employees’ loyalty to the entity
Category 12 -Best Government Communication Strategy, GCC
Nominations under this category include government entities, establishments or departments in the GCC with a long-term strategic communication plan that effectively and comprehensively leverages a balanced mix of communication tools and channels. The tools and channels should be traditional as well as modern and interactive in order to allow the communication messages to reach the widest cross-section of the audience and media.
The plan must include both internal and external communication methods and integrate initiatives that aim to empower employees, build capacities and support the decision-making process.
Ensure a government communication strategy that is aligned with the overall entity’s strategic plan. The strategy should:
- Serve all organisational objectives through internal and external communication
- Include clear and measurable objectives
- Outline a clear organisational structure for the government communication department and define the roles of individual team members
- Leverage strategic performance results from previous years and the self-evaluation/ assessments of the government communication team
- Be based on extensive research and study of best practices in government communication
- Ensure effective use of communication channels, tools and mechanisms to maximize communication with internal and external audiences
- Include alternative plans and scenarios for factoring in changes and latest developments
- Help develop communication plans to support and promote the entity’s key projects and initiatives
- The strategy should support the government communication department’s vision and mission
- Reflect creativity in using communication tools and mechanisms to deliver media messages
- Ensure creative, out-of-the-box communication initiatives
- Demonstrate examples and solutions to repetitive challenges facing government communication departments
- The strategy serves as a reference for government communication departments in other entities
- Contribute to the entity's decision making and policy formulation process
- Include a clear mechanism for accessing relevant information internally and externally
- Promote the image of the government entity and its messages at all levels of operation through an internal and external communication plan
- Include an evaluation mechanism to measure the employees’ engagement with the strategy, its execution and results
- Launch communication activities to encourage employees to identify with the organisation’s communication objectives and activate the role of communication
- Put in place mechanisms for monitoring impact across all communication channels (broadcast, audio and print)
Category 13 -Best Government Communication Campaign-GCC
Nominees in this category must be active government entities across the GCC that make significant efforts to engage with their target audiences. Communication is carried out through various awareness campaigns that aim to stimulate and to create a positive impact among target audiences. Nominees must substantiate the presented case study with numbers, facts and concrete results that are a direct outcome of the effective communication tools used throughout the campaign.
The nominated campaign should provide proof points for:
- Addressing a certain challenge that the government entity is aiming to overcome
- Providing a clear-cut strategy that outlines challenges to be overcome, as well as successes achieved
- Offering a detailed action plan elaborating on varied activities employed
- Identifying goals and target audience
- Establishing a well-developed mechanism to collect campaign information and data
- Aligning the campaign’s key messages with the issue or challenge the entity is seeking to address
- Identifying a time frame for the execution of the campaign
The nominated campaign should offer evidence for:
- Uniqueness in addressing the challenge
- Utilising new and varied tools and platforms to reach target audience
- Combining traditional and social media platforms and tools
- Employing creativity in shaping campaign’s language, messages and tools
The nominated campaign should deliver proof points for:
- Developing impactful and balanced content with regard to language, objectivity and transparency
- Measuring the reactions of the target audiences
- Measuring and analysing public and media satisfaction results
- Creating mechanisms to ensure ongoing engagement with target audiences on the issues identified
- Evaluating and updating the campaign and revising plans as needed
- Translating a positive impact on target audiences that can be detected through polls and surveys
Category 14-Best Government Social Media Engagement-GCC
The nomination must focus on how government entities, establishments or departments interact with their audiences via social media platforms. The platforms need to facilitate interactive, two-way communication and not remain merely informative. The nomination has to be substantiated with numbers and facts that demonstrate the success of the interaction via the social media platforms and illustrate how these platforms have turned the nominated entity’s social media accounts into an effective communication tool.
Nominees should also justify how their social media platforms facilitate communication in a positive manner, and how their online engagement contributes to enhancing the overall image of the organisation through highlighting and promoting its services and key messages.
Preparation and Reference: 20
- Offers suitable information to the target audience through direct interaction
- Provides hyperlinks for any inquiries or comments to facilitate audience access to required information
- Ensures accuracy and clarity of information provided in responses to comments, inquiries and complaints
- Aligns responses and comments with organization’s key messages
- Supports responses and comments with data or images where necessary
Communication and engagement team: 20
- Provides a simple mechanism that explains the engagement process with social media audience
- Provides a guideline for content used to deal with inquiries and complaints (For example: social media communication guideline, FAQs with answers)
- Utilises colours and backgrounds that represent the corporate identity
- Delegates an expert team to interact and engage with social media audience
- Delivers quick responses to inquiries and comments, while also building strong relations with the audience
- Organises regular and specialised team training sessions
- Demonstrates suitability of social media platforms and their content highlights the activities of the nominated government entity
- Assesses overall number of followers and growth of numbers on a regular basis
- Evaluates the extent of overall social media engagement and its outcome
- Measures the impact of effective communication with social media audience through an effective mechanism
Winners of these awards are chosen by Sharjah Government Media Bureau and the award’s Judging Panel based on their various contributions to the development of the media and communications sector in the Arab Region. The categories include:
Category 1 -Media Personality - Arab Region
This award is presented to a creative personality and decision maker in the Arab Region’s media industry who contributes to driving partnerships between governments and the public through leveraging the media and supporting communication between the two parties for the ultimate benefit of the public.
- Spreading a humane cultural message
- Solving a complicated social issue
- Spreading awareness about social, educational, health-related or environmental issues
- Contributing effectively to enhancing government communication practices across the region
Category 2-Best Influential Personality on Social Media in the Service of the Greater Good- Arab Region
This award is presented to an individual who have made a positive impact through social media across the Arab Region and has contributed in raising awareness, changing behaviours, and educating societies about various issues that touches people’s daily lives.
- • Motivating the public to adopt positive values and responsible behaviours
- • Spreading social meaningful messages
- • Contributing effectively in initiatives that have positive impact on societies
- • Posting content that serves higher purpose